At the close of the Remembrance Day ceremony at the NFOH, the Board President of Commissionaires Quebec, Col Jean Forget, presented a cheque of $25,000 to Bgen Pierre Boucher, President of the Last Post Fund Quebec branch that manages the NFOH.
"This gift, he said, is not only a tribute to the noble mission of that unique military cemetery, but also a well-deserved contribution to its maintenance, its development and its perennity."
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Left to right : LCol Guy Rousseau and Capt Peter Langlais, NFOH Board members; Maj Serge Gélinas, NFOH manager; BGen Pierre Boucher, President, LPF Quebec Branch; Col Jean Forget, Board President, Commissionaires Quebec; and Col Michel Crowe, LPF Quebec Branch member. All are retired Canadian Forces officers.
Left to right: Mr. Jean-Pierre Goyer, Last Post Fund Executive Director; the Honourable Julian Fantino, Minister of Veterans Affairs Canada; and HCol Daniel O'Connor, Last Post Fund National President.
Modern-Day Veterans Now Eligible for the Funeral and Burial Program
12 February 2014 - Last Post Fund National President HCol Daniel O'Connor expressed relief and satisfaction with the recent federal budget. "I am very pleased that the issue of eligibility of Modern-Day Veterans for the Veterans Affairs Funeral and Burial Program has been positively dealt with in this budget," says Colonel O'Connor. "The Last Post Fund has been pressing for this recognition for more than a decade, and now all Canadian Veterans are eligible for this important program for the estates of Veterans who die with limited financial resources. From fulfilling our mission in recent years for ineligible Veterans, our donation funds had been virtually exhausted."
Since 1909, the Last Post Fund has had as its prime mission the assurance of a dignified funeral and burial for all Canadian Veterans who pass away with very limited or no financial resources. In 1922, the Government of Canada first recognized its obligation, on behalf of all Canadians, to provide funding to meet this need. However, in recent decades the Regulations governing the Funeral and Burial Program have stipulated that only Second World War and Korean Veterans, and those in receipt of a disability compensation, were eligible for the program, leaving out most of the more than 600,000 Modern-Day Veterans, who have also served their country, prepared to pay the ultimate price. Now, the government has recognized that all Canadian Veterans are eligible for the Funeral and Burial Program.
The Last Post Fund is grateful for the support of all Canadian veterans' organizations that have unanimously supported this demand, particularly the Royal Canadian Legion. Colonel O'Connor adds, "The government is to be applauded for doing the right thing in recognizing and correcting this issue, particularly in a time of fiscal restraint."
THE YEAR IN BRIEF
A few statistics from 2013-2014
- Funeral and Burial Program
The Last Post Fund approved 1,213 applications for grants (of which 107 for Allied Veterans), compared to 1,199 the previous year. Total payments reached $7,173,928.
189 Modern-Day Veterans receiving a disability compensation qualified for funeral and burial assistance through means-testing in accordance with the Veterans Burial Regulations.
Veterans Affairs provided $280,980 for the delivery of 293 markers through the Program.
- Unmarked Grave Program
During the year, 154 markers were installed. Total cost for Veterans Affairs Canada: $187,538. Three headstones were installed through the National Defence Marker Program, at a cost of $4,756.
Since the inception of the Program in 1996, the graves of 3,682 Veterans have been identified and properly marked across the country. Total expenditure: $2,622,281.
- National Field of Honour
231 burials were conducted at the Field of Honour. Since 1930, the year of its inauguration, 21,422 burials have taken place at this unique military cemetery.
- Donation Fund
Over the past two years, the Last Post Fund has assisted the families of 30 Modern-Day Veterans, expending nearly $100,000 of its donation fund. Since then, all Veterans have become eligible for the Funeral and Burial Program administered by the Fund on behalf of Veterans Affairs Canada.
Arthur Hair, founder of the Last Post Fund to which he contributed 38 years of his life.